Feather money

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography UQ Anthropology Museum

Photography UQ Anthropology Museum

Photography UQ Anthropology Museum

Photography Carl Warner

Registration number
23783
Item name
Feather money 
Category
Currency/Trade
 
Indigenous name
touau 
Maker
Unrecorded  
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Solomon Islands > Temotu (Eastern Islands) Province > Santa Cruz Islands
Map
Collector
Mr Denis G. Bailey 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1975 
Acquisition method
Purchased from Mr Denis G. Bailey 
Raw material
Feather, cardinal honeyeater; bark; resin; shell
Dimensions
H: 60 mm W: 690 mm L: 800 mm D: Circum:

Description

Long wood/plant material length coiled and covered tightly in cream-coloured binding with bright red short feathers on the outer edge. The feathers appear to have been attached/secured to the cotton binding using dark-coloured resin. Each end of the coil extends to a pointed end which is approximately 60mm long and is constructed of woven twine. There are small shells on either side of the tapered woven ends. There are five lengths of small shells threaded onto cotton thread at the outer end (approximately 200mm long), twelve lengths (six on either edge) in the middle and six at the centre end. Some of the lengths of shell at the middle of the feather binding on the underside have larger shells at the ends. The woven ends of the roll cover a plaited length of thick twine. The twine is further connected to a length of coiled wood approximate 60mm high and 150mm in diameter. The twine is threaded through holes in the coil and knotted on the inside. Also at each end of the tapered woven ends are two lengths of flat rattan measuring 530mm long and 26mm wide.

Research notes

From the UQ Anthropology Museum exhibition 'In the Red; on the vibrancy of things' June 2012 - January 2013.

In the Red exhibition label: Touau was used in Santa Cruz as currency in matters from bride price to purchasing large canoes. The manufacture of the feathered coils was known only by a select few, learnt from their fathers and from spirits. The value of touau was dependent upon its redness. Newly-made coils with vivid red feathers were most prized, with coils of blackened and aged feathers the least. Touau making has recently been revived on Santa Cruz.

Go to top